elisariva

Seizing life's joys and challenges physically, mentally, and emotionally.


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It Never Rains In California?

Today was a complete rest day. Normally I would go to bed by 9:30, which I did last night, and get up around 4:30, which I did not do today. I slept in until 7:15. It felt wonderful. Then I checked my messages. I find a post on Facebook from the California International Marathon that read “Folks! The CIM will NOT be cancelled this weekend. This is a rain or shine event…” The rest of the post just continued to make my stomach flip. I knew that rain was in the forecast, but now I learned that a very heavy rain storm is expected (with high winds) to last from Friday through Sunday. Joy.

Then I received an email from Jill at JoggingJeans at 8:29 this morning. She sent me a link to Team Hoyt. Dick Hoyt had recently been mentioned to her and she wanted to share his story with me. I was familiar with the story but didn’t know his name. His son, Rick, was born a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. In sum – Dick now competes in running events and triathlons (including several Ironman races) to raise awareness and funds for his charity. Oh and he brings his adult son Rick along with him. The entire race. I read Jill’s email and replied thanking her. The timing was perfect. Aware of the story, I know a little rain (or torrential downpour) is not a huge challenge compared to what Dick Hoyt voluntarily puts himself through for a wonderful cause. Jill replied writing that she watched the video on the site and was struck that Dick is not a young man, he is in his 60’s and still competing. As for the timing of her encouragement, well we both agree there had to be some divine intervention involved.

I was running late this morning since I slept in, so I didn’t take the time to watch the video. All day the weather in California did stay on my mind. I even searched for other marathons in December that are not full that I could run in the even the race actually is cancelled or worse yet I am not able to finish. I knew I wanted to incorporate Jill’s email into this post, so when I finally finished all I needed to do this evening, I watched the video on the web page. Watch it. Please. I was so moved by a video only as long as the song playing. The pictures tell it all.

My perspective has changed for this weekend. My greatest concern now is just having a safe flight in tomorrow to Sacramento. Once I am there, what happens – happens. Strong wind and rain are forecasted, as long as I am able to make it through the race I will do so. Yes I am frustrated that I have trained so much and so hard for this race. I have it in me to set a personal record. The common thread in all reports on the CIM site is “don’t expect a PR in this weather.” Okay…. My goal now is to finish. I have friends I will see both at the race and then I am off to San Francisco and Napa Valley for a few days. What really is important? The quality of my race or the quality of my life with those dear to me? I will take those dear to me.


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Eighteen

I have gone from counting down weeks until my marathon to counting down days. Eighteen. Once again perspective is everything. If I had to wait eighteen days for an order from Amazon I would think that is a very long time. Knowing I will be running 26.2 miles in eighteen days seems like it is too soon. Way too soon. My immediate positive self talk is to remind myself I have the training in. I have run several long runs longer than when I trained for my last marathon and that one I set a personal best record. I still have one more twenty mile run this weekend to condition my body. Knowing this helps. A little. I am also encouraged because I received a text today from a friend in San Francisco who will definitely be there to cheer me on. To all reading this who have cheered friends on at races – from 5K to marathon – it means SO much.

My workout this morning was a speed run. After a two mile warm up I ran 12 one minute repeats fast with a one minute jog in between followed by a one mile cool down. I chose 6.8 again on the treadmill, which is close to a 8:50 minute mile pace. I was able to sustain the pace for all of the repeats and I even kicked it up to 7.2 for the twelfth one. I have two more speed workouts before the race – in eighteen days. The goal of those will be similar to what I did last week, a few repeats of long intervals. Again, I will probably target 6.8. This is my stepping stone to my next goal 5K time. Notice I said stepping stone. I do not have a “goal” pace I want to achieve. That is limiting, I would rather see how fast I get over time. But I know the next step is to break 9:00 pace. (Ah, nine, half of 18)

This evening I did my new resistance workout. I have many more step ups, side steps down, lunges, side crunches, and balancing acts than ever. Gone are my chin ups (sad) but in place are several repeats of one arm lat pull downs while sitting on a stability ball. My core darn well better have a six pack by the time I am finished with these core exercises. There it is again – six, a third of eighteen. (Hint – I am a numbers person through and through)

As I count down the days, I also want to remember to enjoy each day as it comes. Living for “one day”, whether it is one day soon or one day maybe, is dangerous. Life passes by and goes unnoticed. So I will also look at today and make it count. It sure was a jam packed day when I look at all I did in between workouts. For today, my eighteen will be made up of the number of only a fraction of people and blessings I am grateful to have in my life. That is an eighteen that neither too long or too short. It is just right.


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Perspective and Success

When I started training for my first marathon 13 years ago I started with absolutely no running base at all. I remember the thrill I had when I ran my first 9 mile training run. I couldn’t believe I was able to run (and walk a bit) that far. As my training progressed, I reached the “real” long runs that were 14 to 20 miles long. Every other week the coach scheduled a shorter long run of 12 miles in between the longer runs. By the end of my training my thought process – or perspective – had completely changed. I went from marveling at running 9 miles to looking at my training scheduled and actually saying “I only have 12 miles to run.”

That was 13 years ago. Today I had a shorter long run of 14 miles and I was so excited that it was all I had to run. That perspective just keeps changing. It wasn’t easy though. The first nine miles were run at my marathon goal pace. The California International Marathon (CIM) has a net elevation loss of 320 feet, but the race organizers stress it is not a downhill course. The first half has several rolling hills and it is important to pace yourself. After talking it over with my trainer, my plan is to run 11:30 pace the first half and then pick it up to 11:00 pace the second half. My primary goal is to finish and set a PR. My previous PR is 5:19:19, I am targeting 5:00. If I break 5:00 I will be thrilled.

Today I ran out and back on the towpath on a section that picks up about 80 feet in elevation the first half. So the first 7 miles I was consistent at keeping 11:30 pace. I felt good and my heart rate stayed in the upper zone two lower zone three range. At the turn around I picked up the pace as the elevation was slightly decreasing and was able to keep 11:08 pace for miles 8 and 9.  A good trial run at race pace and I was pleased. The last 5 miles I took a bit easier, but I still finished strong and with my goal time for the day.

Several bloggers who are newer to running and triathlon have expressed similar amazement at their accomplishments and commented that they don’t even think of doing the distances I haven done this year. I remind them that it is only a matter of time before they are on this side of the curve. A good friend of mine has told me for years that there is always someone faster and someone slower. I still consider myself slow, I just have decent endurance. But I am getting faster – according to my standards and my perspective. And that is what it is all about. Yes I participate in races. My biggest rival is myself. Thousands of people participate in races like CIM, but only six people really receive the official honors – the top three men and women. There is expected to be 8,000 runners in this race. Of that, 7,994 participants just want to do their best. Well maybe 7,990, I always feel so bad for the fourth and fifth finishers… But my point is it only matters how I do to me. I may be dead last in my age group, but if I set a personal record – I am thrilled. What matters is the bar I set for myself in life, not the judgement of anyone else. That is part of seizing the day.


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Surprises For My Long Run

Honesty and truthfulness are two core values I live by. With that said, I can not lie and must say when it came to today’s run, I was dreading it. The weather forecast called for 60% chance of rain and temperatures in the mid 60’s to lower 70’s – wet, humid, ugly day. What was dread quickly turned to joy when the clouds parted, a nice breeze picked up and the sun came out. It was a lovely day to run after all!

My long run called for 16 miles – the first 10 miles easy in zone two and then picking it up the last 6 miles running at race pace. My metabolic training is paying off – I was able to run – not run/walk – the first 10 miles and keep my average heart rate at 130 – 3 beats under my zone two threshold of 133. Then came the last 6 miles – I ran race pace the first two miles. At this point I am 12 miles into my run, right where most of my longest long runs over the past three years ended. Training for half marathons has also trained my hamstrings to going into a burning rage past 12 miles. The final four miles I ran faster than the first 10, but not at race pace. I still have several long runs before the marathon to train my legs to go the distance. It was during these last four miles that I also used my mantras – I Believe I am able, I know I can do this. And I did.

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a flat to slight downhill course so I ran on the towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. With the sun shining and the trees near peak color, I had beautiful scenery my entire run. A crushed limestone path, a flowing river, beautiful trees, and a leaf covered path made it all the more enjoyable. The leaves did cover one thing I didn’t expect – a snake. Garden variety I am sure, but I am not a fan of snakes. I hopped over the critter on my way out around mile 12. On my way back as I was finishing mile 14 it had made it across the path and slithered right on to my shoe as my foot landed. While I was tired and my legs hurt, I had enough adrenaline in me to yelp, hop, and fling the critter across the path. Nearly landing on the cyclist approaching me. Never a dull moment.

So I had a few surprises on my long run today. Pleasantly, the weather surprised me and provided a lovely day to run. A snake decided to sneak up on me – twice – to make sure I was paying attention – two surprises I could have done without. But most of all I surprised myself – I made it through the last leg of a tough run, I dug deep to remember my mantras to get me through the hard part, and I finished strong. Believing in my ability – I WILL do this.

After my run I visited with my dad and then came home. Before going inside I went across the street and sat on the edge of the lake I live on. My blog banner has a picture I took a few years ago of the foliage. My day was capped with the most beautiful view – another pleasant surprise on what should have been a terrible day. Here was my view.

My favorite part about living “so far out there”.


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Endings and Beginnings

Still riding high on such a great experience yesterday, this morning I was up by 7:30 AM to get to the pool and swim. My legs are sore today, a sign I gave all I had in the race yesterday. But my legs were not sore enough to keep me from swimming. I really haven’t had a good swim since the Thursday before I left for vacation. After checking in with a few friends, I knew I would be in good company today so I made it to the pool a little after 9:00 and swam 2,000 meters. One friend was already there and the pool was full, so I shared a lane with her. It felt so good to swim again, I am working right now on cleaning up my flip turns. I made sure to flip during warm up, main set, and cool down. It was a good endurance workout that kept me going with very limited breaks between sets.

Even though I spent most of last week at a spa, I could not resist spending time in the hot tub after my swim. Feeling the warm water on my legs helped to loosen them up while I stretched. I took my time getting dressed too. This is my last official day of vacation, I am going take advantage of it. Another friend made it later and she and I got to catch up before I left. Catching up with friends I haven’t seen for a few weeks was good to ease myself back into my regular routine. Although, with marathon training in full bloom, my routine has completely changed. As I have said, change is good, and so far I am enjoying it. On my way home from the gym I did something I very rarely do on weekends – I stopped in my office to go through mail, email, and organize things. Now I feel ready for the week to come with no surprises when I walk in on Monday.

Along with my vacation ending so does September. My goals for September were to do well in the half iron race as well as the half marathon. Additionally I planned on focusing on my marathon training while still swimming a few times a week. Well, without lamenting again the results of my half iron triathlon, I will say that I did well in that I finished the race despite some painful stomach issues. My swim, which I have worked so hard on all year, was very good. My training paid off. My transition times improved too. As time has passed, I am satisfied with the experience and enjoyed the time I spent with friends at the race too. My half marathon yesterday went well, so much so that I registered today for the Akron half marathon next year. Hey, when I spot a good thing, I stay with it. I am full in to my marathon training and see the benefits paying off. Swimming – I have done twice a week as planned.

So now October begins tomorrow. Wow – fourth quarter already. This Sunday I am running a 10K race on the towpath. While I am running 12 miles easy the day before, I think I have it in me to do well. My goal is anything under an hour. I also am planning a 5K race at the end of the month. This has been my PR 5K race the past two years. It would be nice to have a three-peat. As for training – I have my October running plan all lined up and I am looking forward to it. Additionally I am adding pilates once a week and a resistance workout my trainer designed for me once a week. I know I can swim twice a week, possibly three times now, and I am adding spinning. After going over with my trainer the days I would like to spin, she thinks it is worth a try spinning twice a week. If my legs are fatigued, then I will cut back to once a week. Never a dull moment indeed.

The end of vacation, the end of a month, the end of a quarter… also the beginning of a dynamic and changed training plan, a new month, a new quarter. How true it is that the one thing that stays the same is that things will change. Being a type A person who plans things out, I am learning to embrace the changes around me. What does not have to change is who I am – my values, my character, the principles I live by – all things that equip me and surround me as events go on around me. It is what defines me. All too often we define who we are by what we do – our profession, our family roles, our activities and sports. Those are roles in our lives that change with time. Strip those away and inside is who we are. Something to ponder in this ever changing world.


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Akron Road Runner Marathon and Half

My day began with my alarm going off at 3:00 AM – even for me that is early. I thought of my friends on the west coast who were probably just going to bed and here I am getting up to get ready for my race. I had a smoothie for breakfast along with my coffee – keeping full and fueling on foods that would agree with my stomach was my goal today. I met my trainer at 5:00 and we drove to Akron for the race. I must say, The Akron Marathon is the best organized running race I have participated in. From the little details to the big, they had it covered. While the start and finish were in the heart of downtown Akron, there were several parking garages open and FREE to park. The lines of port-o-potties were far longer than the lines of people waiting, briefly, to use them. The corals for starting times were very well organized and the start went off with fireworks and cheering crowds. This race was a combination of half marathon, full marathon, and relay marathon teams. In fact it boasts the largest number of relay teams for a marathon.

The day was perfect for running. The sun came up and out by 7:30, the race started at 7:00 so it was cool to watch the skies brighten, the temperature at the start was 45 degrees and probably around 55 by the finish. The course is challenging.  The lead sponsor for the race is Time Warner and the race is called the Akron Road Runner Race – a play on the internet area of Time Warner and the Looney Tunes Road Runner. The entire route is marked with a bright blue line – as if the Road Runner himself sped along and left his mark. The first six miles are relatively flat, but from six through ten it gained quite a bit of elevation and of course there was a nice incline around mile twelve before the downhill finish. The second half of the marathon is even more challenging. Growing up in Akron, I am all too familiar with the terrain the runners were turning in to when the half marathon split from the full marathon just before mile 11. The finish area is in the Akron Aeros ballpark, a double A affiliate to the Cleveland Indians (with a much better winning record as well…). Again – an incredibly well organized area. Finishers did not have far to go to get their medals, finishers caps, and the warming mylar blankets before being ushered into the food tent and then to gear bag pick up.

My experience was equally pleasing. I did not eat any gels but rather ate a Honey Stinger Waffle right before the start and half of one at mile 9.5. I brought my running bottle and hand carry case filled with Accelerade – all things I have trained with. My stomach held up very well. My legs did too, but the course did present some challenges for me. In February I set a personal best in the half marathon with a 2:19:19 in Jacksonville, FL. The course was much flatter than today’s race. The total elevation gain in Florida totaled 466 feet, today it was 2,175. Today I finished in 2:25:59 (yeah! I wanted 2:25 or better, got it by a second). I was right on pace for my marathon goal time. I compared today’s race mile for mile with the race in February. Garmin Connect breaks down the details so well. The interesting thing is mile for mile the first six miles I ran the same pace give or take a few seconds. It was just past mile six that the pace comparison began to diverge, just when the elevation picked up today. Seeing the details was encouraging for me. It was a technical course and I am focusing on training for CIM – a flat to downhill course. I looked at my results of half marathons over the years. I have run 11 races since 1999 and this was my fourth fastest. In fact all four of the fastest I have run with in less than two years. To be faster in my mid 40’s than my early 30’s is such motivation to keep at it.

My trainer did very well – she place second woman overall in the half marathon. I was so happy for her, she is very humble of her success. When I saw her, the first thing she said was she saw me finish and I looked strong. I had to ask how she did! Several of my friends participated in the half and relay, the energy was in the air, they all did well. I even ran into a guy I haven’t seen since high school who had run the race. It was so good to catch up now that we are officially “grown ups”. All in all it was a great day. I napped in the sun in the afternoon before getting up and about among civilization. My legs feel sore from the run, a sign I gave all I had, but it is a good sore. So now I end the day feeling happy and content. A long, yet wonderful day.


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That Pre-Race Feeling

Pre-race nerves are something that does not go away regardless of how many races I have run. I actually thought that my first race after triathlon season wouldn’t be too bad. There are no fears of drowning, getting a flat tire, or crashing my bike. All I have to do is run. So much for that thought. Today by 4:00 in the afternoon I felt myself start to tighten up and my stomach start to flutter. At first I thought it was just emotions of nostalgia. My home town is Akron, Ohio and the race winds through many areas I am so familiar with. Within a half hour I knew it was race nerves, my mind was wandering to thoughts of what to wear, how to prepare for the weather (cool enough for short sleeves or wear a tank?) and I was strategizing on how to get everything done and be in bed early tonight.

My day did not start off with a concern at all, thankfully. I slept in and took my time getting dressed. I drove down to the expo to pick up my race packet and peruse the displays. In the end I did what I always do at local race expos – check out what all of the vendors have and then go to my running store’s tent (Fleet Feet) and buy things there. Since I was so close, I stopped in to visit with my dad too. The marathon course crosses the street I grew up on and where he lives to this day. When I ran the full marathon in 2003, my parents were at the corner cheering me on. I didn’t think to tell them not to expect a chipper, fresh runner – it is just past the mile 20 marker. My mother wanted to know if I wanted to go home and rest. With six miles to go, I told her to hop in the car and meet me at the finish, no way was I stopping. That memory crept up today while I was visiting my dad, right about when my pre-race nerves kicked in.

With this race being (only!) a half marathon and I am at home, I can only imagine what I will be dealing with in December when I fly across the country to run a full marathon. But for now, nerves included, I enjoyed today. Going to my hometown, seeing some of my old stomping grounds, spending time with my dad – all part of my roots. And in order to grow – in wisdom, strength, and confidence – strong roots are very helpful. Now to put all of my training to the test and show Akron what I’ve got…


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A Detour to Drive 56 Extra Miles

This morning I made it outside for a twenty minute run before breakfast. It was so invigorating. The ground was damp from the rain over night, but the skies had cleared and the temperature was just under 60 degrees. Perfect for a quick easy run – my last run before the half marathon on Saturday. After breakfast I loaded up my car and headed out – to Syracuse, NY…

The drive to Syracuse from my home is just over six hours, but from the resort it was about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Since I was relatively close, I decided to make the drive up to Jamesville Beach Park, the venue for Ironman 70.3 Syracuse on June 23, 2013. Literally ever since I woke up from my nap the afternoon of my Rev3 half iron distance triathlon I have been looking for my next 70.3 triathlon. I was so disappointed with how the bike and run went that I have been looking for a sort of retribution. I know I have the ability to have done much better if it weren’t for the digestive issues. When I found the Syracuse race I wanted to study the bike course before committing to the race. The elevation charts show the first 11.5 miles climbing 1,100 feet. If I am able to conquer that, the next 44.5 miles are pretty darn close to down hill.

So after I arrived at the park today, I took a few pictures of the reservoir where the 1.2 mile swim is held, set up my video camera on a suction mount in my car and took a 56 mile drive. After seeing (and filming) the course, I know I can do this. Yes, there were several steep hills, but not nearly as sever as I had imagined. I live in a very hilly area and the hills I ride are as steep if not steeper. My task now in training is to get stronger on the hills. The race is nine months away, I plan on adding a spin class once a week now and after the marathon in December I will go into full triathlon training – with six months to prepare.  The scenery for the ride is absolutely beautiful. I am sure it will be lovely in June, but the leaves today were not quite peaking for their autumn displace. The colors were vibrant and the sun was shining. All the more motivation to come back in June and ride the country roads.

I made it back home this evening after an uneventful drive home. The New York throughway on I90 is not anywhere as scenic as the drive on I80 through Pennsylvania, but there was less construction and traffic. A long day with most of it spent driving, but a good day. I am excited about my race this weekend, my marathon training is in full gear, and now I have a goal to train for through the winter and in to spring. Always something… I spent the time driving in thought processing my vacation and the wonderful rest I was able to get, organized my thoughts for the coming weekend, and considered all I have planned for October. The month will be changing once again, as well as the quarter ending. The adage “where does the time go?” is such a good question. But today I covered a lot of ground, literally – running and driving – and taking in the beauty of the day. Now I am about to go to sleep and my dogs are lounging on my bed. All is back to normal and things feel right. Yet another day for which to be grateful.


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Peaceful Day

Is it really possible to not have a care in the world? Probably not, but today sure was close. I actually almost feel guilty for being so relaxed. Quite a sad revelation. I came here to relax, that is what I am doing. So I will also commit to relaxing guilt free. Of course I am not laying around just eating the good food and being pampered. I ran nine miles this morning. My trainer scheduled 10 Yasso’s for me today. As I have referenced before, Yasso’s are named after Bart Yasso from Runner’s World Magazine. He suggests running 800 meter repeats at the minute time of your goal marathon. I hope to run a 4:50 marathon, so I set the treadmill at 6.2 – which is 9:40 per mile or 4:50 per half mile. My recovery was a walk of equal time, so I walked a quarter mile at 3.3, just a tad faster. With warm up and cool down, I covered nine miles. It took me just over an hour and 45 minute with my heart rate averaging 132 (zone two!) and maxing at 154 – still in high zone three. Good thing I am on vacation. I ate breakfast, waited an hour and then ran. If I was at home on a work day, I would have to be on the treadmill by 6:15 to get to work at a respectable hour. After my run I did my core workout that my trainer showed me last week and used the foam roller on my legs.

After a good lunch (in my robe!) I put on my swim suit and took in some sunshine. It was in the low 70’s today and not a cloud in the sky. For late September, it was a treat. I also enjoyed the outdoor hot tub with a waterfall. Yes, yes, pictures coming soon. I have to figure out tonight how to download them from my camera to my air book. I am using my iPad mostly. My spa treatment today was a facial. Another indulgence I love and don’t do often enough. While the mask was setting I got a scalp and arm massage. (As well as a bit of a nap too). Before dinner I had time to read in the spa patio. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. Having most of the day to ready here adds to the relaxing atmosphere. Dinner was wonderful too, although I had to dress casual. Dining in a robe is quite a nice luxury I must admit.

I have been communicating with a friend and we are planning our next big vacation together. Here I am, at a spa with no cares to bother me, and I am thinking of the next big vacation. Planning ahead has its benefits, but so does living in the moment. Sometimes it takes getting away – leaving the stress and worries at home – to appreciate the here and now. It also gets my creative thoughts flowing for the next opportunity to do the same thing. I want to enjoy every day. Vacation days as well as normal life days. Some days are fly by the seat of my pants random and others are planned. But each day is unique and brings joys of its own. With every deep breath I take today I exhale a sense of peace. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Again I am fireside as I write. My chair today gives me a view of the fire along with the windows of the resort. Here is my slice of peaceful living today.

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Kayaking, Running, and Swimming All Wrapped Up

For me, waking at 6:30 is sleeping in – just what I did this morning. After getting a few things together I headed down for breakfast and then out to the docks. It was still in the upper 40’s when I got to the little lake here to go kayaking. I had on layers, so I came prepared. It was an absolutely beautiful morning – the sun was shining, the wind was still and the waters calm. The mist off the lake was captivating. I took picture and will have them up soon, I used my waterproof camera and my new HD Pro Hero (a very cool video camera) strapped to my chest. It was a good upper body workout but also calming. I went at my own pace, enjoying the surroundings. All around the lake are cranberry groves – several times my kayak got up close and personal with the bushes too… Water lilies also sprung up here and there. I did see one live creature jump out of the water, but I never identified it. The lake is dotted with fake mallards – for a slalom course. I tried a few turns, a very technical course. I enjoyed the challenge of a sport I do not do often. Variety and change really does spice things up.

After kayaking, I changed and headed out to the path that winds along the property for a run. I did not have a run scheduled, but my Sunday long run was on Saturday and my Saturday 45 minute easy run didn’t happen. So today I ran 35 minutes easy. I am in the mountains and even the paved trail her has two good hills. It is only a mile long, so I ran it three times. So “easy” still had six hills to climb. A mantra I use occasionally but snicker at is “hills make you stronger”. Ya, ya…

After lunch and a little reading I decided to swim a bit. The pool here is a “fitness” pool. Translation – fitness class. It is warmer, about 84 degrees, and only 13 yards long. It brought back memories of lap swimming in the pool on the ship six months ago. After 1,000 yards I decided this is taper week for the half marathon and I had a few good workouts today, so I headed outside to the heated year round hot tub. When it is 58 degrees outside, sitting is a steamy hot tub is extra special. It even has a cascading waterfall. Very cool. After the hot tub, I took in the sauna and steam room with eucalyptus. All in preparation for my up coming spa treatment – a body wrap. Being cocooned with lavender oil and aloe is a wonderful treat. Having a scalp and foot massage while wrapped in aromatic oils is incredible. I love a good foot massage, after running as much as I have, it was divine. See why I am so drawn to spas?

After a wonderful dinner I am back again sitting outside by the fire pit recounting my day on this blog. I can honestly say I haven’t a care in the world while I am here. Stress is gone, I feel the peace that surpasses all understanding, and I am appreciating every moment. One of the most attractive things for me in a destination spa is the all inclusive environment. There is no need to leave for anything unlike staying at a hotel. It is almost an escape from the outside world, my little slice of peace and carefree solitude. I know what awaits outside these boundaries. But while I am here, I am in my own peaceful place. Rejuvenating and recharging to face all that is outside with a brighter perspective. Sometimes getting away for it all, puts it all into a clear perspective. And I believe I can take it on.